HIV Latency

 A latent HIV reservoir may be a group of immune cells within the body that are infected with HIV but aren't actively producing new HIV. HIV attacks system cells in the body and uses the cells’ machinery to make copies of itself. However, some HIV-infected immune cells enter a resting (or latent) state. While during this resting state, the infected cells don’t produce new HIV. HIV can hide inside these cells for years, forming a latent HIV reservoir. At any time, cells within the latent reservoir can become active again and begin making more HIV. To find out more about how HIV attacks cells, read the AIDSinfo HIV Life Cycle fact sheet. HIV medicines prevent HIV from multiplying, which reduces the amount of HIV in the body (called the viral load). Because the HIV-infected cells during a latent reservoir aren’t producing new copies of the virus, HIV medicines have no effect on them. People with HIV must take a daily combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV treatment regimen) to stay their viral loads low. If an individual stop taking their HIV medicines, the infected cells of the latent reservoir can begin making HIV again and therefore the person's viral load will increase. That’s why it’s important to continue taking HIV medicines a day as prescribed, even when viral load levels are low.